Zoey

Figuring Out a Dog’s World

In Dog communication, Shelley Widhalm on May 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

Zoey has to work extra hard to figure out the world of her human companion, Shelley.

Zoey has to work extra hard to figure out the world of her human companion, Shelley.

I need smells, lots of them, because I’m a dog, but not just a dog, an extraordinarily cute miniature dachshund.

Call me Zoey.

Understand me as a complex animal that sees, smells and knows the world differently than humans.

My BFF Shelley is reading “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know,” by Alexandra Horowitz, but I don’t think she needs to read a book to get how I operate.

The book advises Shelley to read my behaviors and not to anthropomorphize me and to consider my unwelt, or my subjective, or self-world.

To understand me, Shelley’s role is to figure out what’s meaningful to me, or what I can perceive, plus how I act in the world. Anywhere where I can’t sit, lie down or eat food is not part of my world and blends into my background.

Take food, for example. It comes from some place with a door (a cabinet) and automatically appears in my bowl. I am handed pieces of it when I use the potty box, do something good or sit or obey other obedience commands.

I act, or behave, according to my desire to receive the food, so I sit even though I want to snap up the treat instantly and chow down.

When I go on walks, I smell my way with my nose toward the ground, trying to figure out the news of my environment. I’m a sniff-a-vestigator.

Ms. Horowitz states that dogs make eye contact with humans to look to them “for information, for reassurance, for guidance.”

I stare down the hallway at Shelley when she’s in the kitchen without food smells, trying to find out if she’s going to leave, take me with her or head to the couch, where I can curl up with my favorite human. She doesn’t tell me what her plans are, which I think is unfair. I have to sit there and figure it all out.

What’s even more unfair is Shelley reads all these books to figure me out when I’m right here available for reassuring her that I’m all love and friendship.

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